EUGENE VON GUÉRARD: ARTIST–TRAVELLER
This remarkable exhibition tells the story of the art of Austrian-born artist Eugene von Guérard, the preeminent landscape painter of colonial Australia. It focuses on his life of travel and adventure, through the sketchbooks that he treasured, books that offer a glimpse into the heart and mind of one of our greatest and most enduringly relevant artists.
Von Guérard travelled extensively throughout south-eastern Australia, methodically recording the landscape, trekking into some of ‘the wildest and least-known portions of Australian territory’, his pencil and pocket-sized sketchbooks always close at hand. Back in the studio, he transformed his sketches into meticulously executed paintings which are remarkable for their detail.
During his twenty-eight years in Australia, he filled twenty-two sketchbooks with drawings that capture his sense of wonder at the diversity and beauty of the natural environments through which he travelled. The stories told through his sketchbooks provide the theme of the exhibition.
This exhibition offers the visitor the rare opportunity to trace the evolution of a work from the sketchbook to the final studio painting, in examples which include some of von Guérard’s best known and most important paintings.
In addition to works from the Art Gallery of Ballarat, the exhibition will feature generous loans of drawings and sketchbooks from the State Library of Victoria and the State Library of New South Wales. The exhibition will include paintings from the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, Geelong Gallery, Warrnambool Art Gallery and Benalla Art Gallery as well as from private collectors, some of which will be seen on public exhibition for the first time.
The exhibition will feature a beautifully produced catalogue, lavishly illustrated with both sketchbook drawings and finished oil paintings and with text by Dr Ruth Pullin.
An Art Gallery of Ballarat, in partnership with State Library Victoria.
Image: Eugene von Guérard, Aborigines met on the road to the diggings (detail). 1854. Oil on canvas, Geelong Gallery. Gift of W Max Bell and Norman Belcher, 1923